Equations & Recollections
“Knock, knock, knock.”
Piper jumped from her seat and ran to the front door. When she opened it, in came Raiden Conroy, wearing a green hoodie, khaki, baggy pants, and brown, leather boots. “Hey Raiden” Piper greeted. “Hi Piper” Raiden replied as they exchanged side-hugs. “Go on ahead into the kitchen and get comfortable. Mum made shepherd’s pie for dinner.” “Ahhh,” sighed Raiden, winking “That’s what smells so good.” Piper couldn’t help but chuckle. As she went and closed the door, she could’ve sworn she heard something. She stopped, and looked outside. At first, she thought maybe it was the sound of a car, with exceptionally loud grinding gears. But what mad person would drive a car with gears grinding loudly every two seconds?
“Bum, bvroom…! Bvroom…! Bvroom…! Bvroom…! Bvroom…!”
The sound slowly started to fade away. Piper strained to try to hear it further. It sounded so familiar, yet so strange. “Piper, you alright?” Raiden called from in the kitchen. Piper snapped back to reality and closed the front door. “Y-yeah, I’m fine. Thought I heard something” she called back. She locked it up tight, before re-entering the kitchen.
“What do you think? This formula look right?” Piper was in the process of cleaning up dinner. She drew the curtains in the kitchen and the living room and started up the dish water before walking over to the table, where Raiden was working on a chemistry formula. “Mmm,” Piper mumbled, “Almost. You’re missing a couple of equations.” Raiden, sighed irritably. “This is just not my strong suit!” He exclaimed. Piper said nothing as she started washing the two plates and silverware in the sink.
“Give me a ten to twenty page essay assignment on William Shakespeare, no problem. Diagram twelve word sentences, easy A! But a mathematical formula on taking a rocket to the moon? No thanks” Raiden muttered.
Piper chuckled. “It’s hardly taking a rocket to the moon” she chuckled, “That’s only a fraction.”
Raiden gave her a glare.
Piper giggled. “It’s amazing how opposite we are” she commented.
“Yeah, you’ll end up being a rocket scientist, and I’ll end up write articles about your achievements.”
Piper’s cheeks couldn’t help but get a little pink. Raiden was the only person that could make her smile. “All good things I hope” she implied. “Of course.” They looked at each other for a long moment. She wondered if it was just her imagination, but Raiden’s green eyes seemed to sparkle.
“So that’s what you want to be then? You want to work for the newspaper?” Piper asked, clearing her throat, and desiring to change the subject.
Raiden shrugged. “I don’t know yet. I’m still weighing my options. I want to go to college first. Maybe I won’t become a writer. Writers are paid peanuts these days unless you wrote a best seller. I just…I want a secure job, you know? I don’t want to live in fear of whether or not I’ll be able to eat…”
Piper frowned. “I understand a bit of what’s that’s like. Reality just never seems fair.”
“What do you mean?” Raiden asked.
Piper scratched the back of her head. “The real world…it just seems to revile in crushing hopes and dreams. Society never respects you for who you are, but for what you do.” Piper looked depressingly out the window. “In the end you just get tired…Tired of the struggle…Tired of fighting..” Piper looked down at the table. “Tired of trying to find your place in a world that’s shuns you.”
Raiden frowned. “Is that how you really feel?” Piper said nothing. She just continued to stare at the freshly polished birch wood of the table. Raiden felt a wave of guilt wash over him. He knew what she was talking about. He knew because he heard it, with his own ears.
“Piper! Did you ask about the TV yet?”
Twelve year-old Raiden crept down the upstairs hallway from Piper’s bedroom. The hallway didn’t have the light on, and it was eerily quiet. All he could hear was the muffled voices of the adults from the living room downstairs. He found her standing by the stairs. She didn’t move. All she did was play with her bright yellow, spring shirt, with her back turned to him. “Piper?” Raiden asked, this time in a whisper. Then, he heard sniffing. As he slowly inches towards her, the conversation of the adults grew louder. Finally, he could hear more clearly what they were saying.
“No! I told you before, I’m not sending Piper anywhere!”
“She doesn’t stop going on about it, Carla! On and on, it’s nothing but ‘the mystery man’ and that blue police box! You know it’s not real! She’s going mad!”
“My daughter is not going within two miles of a psychiatric hospital!”
“Why are you so dead against it? It’s not like what they portray in the movies! They can help her!”
“Piper? In an asylum?” Raiden suddenly felt uneasy about Piper standing near the stairway any longer. “Hey,” he cooed, gently taking her hand, “Come on, let’s go.” Piper turned around. Hot tears was rolling down her face, and her cheeks were puffy red. Raiden silently led her back to Piper’s bedroom. Piper sat on the bed. “They think I’m mad!” She squeaked. Just saying it out loud made her want to cry again. “Piper, it’s okay. I don’t think your mom will-” Raiden tried to reassure. “I want to know who he is, Raiden!” Piper sobbed, quietly, “I can’t stop seeing him! Every night, he’s in my dreams, and he’s ever so far away! I’m sick and tired of it! Just sick!” “Piper-” Raiden tries again. Then, in a fit of anger, Piper rose from the bed, and marched over to her wall of her drawings. All of them were pictures of who Piper called, “Mystery Man,” and the blue police box. Some of them were even pictures of the Mystery Man and Piper together, having a picnic, or just simply holding hands. She tore every last one of them down, and stuffed them into a garbage bag. “Piper, what are you doing!?” Raiden hissed. “I don’t want to see him! Not anymore! No more drawings! No more dreams! I don’t want to see the Mystery Man or his blue box ever again!”
Finding himself unable to stop, he put his hands on hers. “I’m always here for you. You know that, right?” He asked. Piper looked at Raiden. She smiled sadly. “Yeah…I know.” After a moment of silence, Raiden passed the worksheet back to her. “This better?” He asked. Piper pulled the paper forward an examined it. She smiled. “That’s perfect.”
Piper checked her watch. It was seven o’clock. “Well, if we hurry and get through English, we may be able to watch some tele before you have to leave” she announced. Raiden lifted his eyebrows and stretched his arms. “Okay, sounds great,” he replied, then added in a jokingly aggressive tone, “This time, it is I who will be tutoring you!” Piper scoffed. “We’ll see about that.” Then, she rose up from her chair. “I’m going to use the restroom. Be back in a few ticks.” Piper exited with a refreshing smile, leaving Raiden in the kitchen, all by himself. Raiden turned his gaze over to the window that looked out where the backyard was, and into Mrs. Dominique’s garden. He could hear the birds wrapping up their songs, and the crickets started their chirping melody. The sun had fully gone down, leaving only a tiny bit of ability to see. Raiden looked at his watch (despite the fact Piper had already told him the time). 7:03pm. Raiden reached into his bag, and started to pull out his grammar textbook and workbook.
As he set them on the table with a reasonably loud thump, he heard a sound. For the first three seconds, Raiden thought it was the crickets outside. Then, he realized it wasn’t chirping: It was whispering. Raiden raised an eyebrow. Where was it coming from? He looked into the living room. The television wasn’t on. He thought about the possibility of it being Piper’s boom box in her room. “But it wasn’t playing before…” He rose from his chair, intending to go up the stairs and check it, but he stopped. The whispering wasn’t coming from upstairs, but from where he was sitting. He walked back over to the table. The whispering was growing louder. Raiden began to make out bits of what the whispering was about. Some of it was laughing. Some of it sounded like a normal conversation. Some of it sounded angry. Then, he could also hear sounds of explosions, and the beeping of some sort of electrical advice. He could hear crying, and shouting, and sounds of destruction. Finally, he figured out where it was coming from. It was coming from the pocket of Piper’s black, leather jacket. Raiden hesitated for a moment. He didn’t want to invade Piper’s property. He was no snoop. But the curiosity was now eating away at him. What could possibly be in Piper’s pocket that would make so much commotion all at once? At last, he gave in. He walked over to the jacket, which was hanging on the back of Piper’s chair, and slowly put his hand in the pocket. He felt something metal slide through his fingertips, first smooth, then bumpy-like. Carefully, as to not create a lot of noise, he pulled it out. Raiden was surprised. “A fob watch?” he asked himself under his breath. The fob watch was unlike anything he had ever seen. It looked nothing like the ones he had seen in museums, or any victorian-era related photos. This one looked brand new. “Who uses a fob watch in the 21st century?” he wondered. It was sleek and silver, with a series lines and circles in an extremely complicated design. The whispering grew louder, and louder. It was coming from inside. Raiden felt his finger on the button to open it. He suddenly could hear another voice, something human, and yet, inhuman.
Without thinking, he pressed the button. Suddenly, a vision came flying towards him, the Dominique’s kitchen melting away.
Everything was blurry. Everything was slow, almost frozen in time. He was standing in the parking lot of an abandoned parking lot of a department store. In the distance, he could see three figures. He couldn’t make out completely what or who they were, but they weren’t human. One of them seemed to have a cocky smirk on their face, the others appeared to be taken off guard, and he could see why. In front of the figures, he could see another figure, he recognized immediately to be Piper, with her back facing him. She had one arm forward, and the other was at her side, the sleeve stained with blood near her shoulder. He could exactly see what was in the hand facing forward, but he speculated it was a gun, as he could see lasers in mid-motion. “Lasers?” he thought. Finally, he could see one more figure. This time, is was a man. He couldn’t see his face clearly (as he was standing from a slanted angle), but what he could see, was that the man had brown hair, long side-burns down the side. He wore a khaki, overgrown coat, which was flying up from his mid-run motion. With his almost frozen expression, many emotions flashed across the man’s face. He could see anger…fear…determination…and love…Everything suddenly clicked, and Raiden felt foolish for not figuring it out sooner: It was him! Piper’s “Mystery Man.” He could hear one word, coming from a shouting, masculine voice, in desperation:
Suddenly, the vision disappeared. Before he knew it, Raiden was back into the kitchen. It was completely dark outside, and the crickets chirped loudly in a chorus. Piper came bursting into the room. “Phew! Sorry, that took longer than I expected!” she exclaimed. Raiden, in a state of panic, slipped the fob watch into the pocket of his hoodie. The whispering stopped. He tried as casually as he could to go back to his own seat and it down. “You alright?” Piper asked. Raiden wanted to tell her. He wanted to tell Piper about what he had discovered. He wanted to tell Piper that he had seen her Mystery Man. But instead, Raiden nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. Just thought I’d stretch my legs a bit” he replied. Piper raised an eyebrow as she sat down in the chair were her jacket hung. He didn’t want to tell her. He only saw a vision. He didn’t have solid proof of the Mystery Man’s existence, and he didn’t want to upset her. “If it was indeed a vision, could it possibly be…from the future?” he wondered, “What was a Timelord? What were those…things? and why was Piper attacking them? Why was the Mystery Man so distressed?” Raiden then scooted his grammar books foreword, shaking the thought out of his mind. “Now, where were we?” Piper pulled her own grammar books, along with a three page written essay, and the two continued to study. But Raiden couldn’t get his mind off the fob watch in his pocket…